Feb 20, 2015

Another Pegasus

1.043 - 1.0??
34 IBU
??% ABV

The Malts:

12 lbs Rahr Two Row
6 lbs Flaked Wheat

The Hops:

.5 oz Simcoe (13.8% AA) - 75 min
.75 oz Mosaic (11.6% AA) - 15 min
1 oz Simcoe (13,8% AA) - 10 min
2 oz Simcoe ( 13.8% AA) - 0 min
2 oz Mosaic (11.6% AA) - 0 min


S-04 Dry Yeast (one fermenter)
Mangrove Jack's Newcastle Dark Ale M03 (the other fermenter)


6 gallons strike water

Target Mash Temp - 155
Strike Temp 168 - 65 / 167 / 70

Brewday Notes and Reflections:

First Runnings 1.068
Preboil - 1.035

A rather easy brewday where all my equipment worked the way it should with the only exception being the HopBlocker (which could be attributed to me). This was the first time I added whole hops to the kettle, and the bulkhead got a little clogged with hops.


Nov 3, 2014

Bloody Hell to Pay

Bloody Hell to Pay

1.052 - 1.005
6.2% ABV
56 IBU

The Fermentables:

15 lbs Marris Otter
2 lbs Toasted Oats
2 lbs Carastan
.5 lb Speacial Roast
3 oz Chocolate Wheat

The Hops:

1 oz EKG (7.2% AA) - 60 min
.5 oz Willamette (4.7% AA) - 30 min
.5 oz EKG (7.2% AA) - 30 min


1275 from washed cultures (3qts starter each (decanted))


6.5 gallons strike water (made for a thick mash with oats)

Brewday notes and reflections:

First, one of the connectors for the thermometers is broken, so I had to switch the remaining one back and forth, which was a pain in the ass. This, coupled with the thick mash with oats, made maintaining a constant mash temperature more difficult than it should have been. We'll call it 155-156 for an hour.

Then the other wire fails. Close to an hour later and a few calls to the manufacturer, I decide to go old school. The problem is that the largest pot I have left is 6 gal, so I start by draining six gallons of wort into the pot, and about 4.5 more into a keg. At first I think making two different beers is the way, but after I had already begun boiling and hopping the first beer, I realize that I have to get it all into the large electric boil pot to drain through the pump and chiller to sanitize those. Thankfully the first boil got it to around 180.

I now have to make my second beer similar to the first in IBUs, though I have different amounts of hops:

Beer One:
.75oz EKG 7.2 - 60
.5oz Will 4.7 - 30
.5oz EKG 7.2 - 30
1oz Fugg 4.3 - 15
1oz EKG 7.2 - 15

Beer Two:
.75oz EKG 7.2 - 60
1oz Fugg 4.3 - 30
.5oz EKG - 7.2 - 15

Ended up with about 8 gallons in all. One keg fermenter only half full.

Finished much lower than I wanted or expected. Initially beer tasted a little thin. This may be because of this being 2nd generation of this yeast. Had similar results with Floyd the Barber (1.051 - 1.006).

Added 1.5 oz med toast French oak chips ( which I fear may have been too much) to the keg that was about half full for one week. Hooked the plain one up first in hopes of some of that oak flavor mellowing a bit.

Aug 30, 2014

Kattenstoet / Figgy Pudding


1.057 - 1.000
7.4% ABV
48 IBU

Figgy Pudding

1.066 - 1.001
8.5% ABV
48 IBU

11 lbs American 2-row
8 lbs Flaked Wheat
2 lbs CaraVienne

Mash Schedule
30 min @ 122
60 min @ 152
5 min @ 168

3 lbs D-45 Candi Syrup
1 lb honey (Figgy Only 10 Minutes)

4 lbs 14.25 oz Figs (Pureed) (Figgy Only 10 minutes)

All Mosaic (11.6% AA)
60 min - 1 oz
15 min - 1 oz
10 min - 1 oz
05 min - 1 oz
00 min - 1 oz

3711 French Saison (2nd gen)
3 qt starter (each) (decanted)

Brewday Notes and Reflections

First runnings 1.079.
Pre-boil gravity 1.042.
Final gravity first beer: 1.057.
Final gravity second beer: 1.066.

Fix for boiled/reduced in about 3 quarts of worked added the honey in for the last 10 minutes. Figs and work boiled for about 25 minutes altogether.

It should be noted that I am not adding the candy sugar until later in the boil.

Little bit of trouble at the beginning the electronic brewery controller does not seem to work like it's supposed to on the hot liquor tank side after I figured out how to wing it things went pretty smoothly.


9.1.14 -- Pitched yeast into both beers after they were well chilled.
10.13.14 -- Bottled Figgy Pudding with 9oz dextrose -- about 4.25 Volumes

Jul 5, 2014

The Illustrious Merkin Gherkin

One-Hundredth Post on The Merkinpatch

The Illustrious Merkin Gherkin

1.045 - 1.001
15.5 IBU

Merkin Splendor

1.045 - 1.001
15.5 IBU

19lbs Belgian Pilsner


1.5 oz Willamette %AA-- 60 min


The Illustrious Merkin Gherkin: Wyeast 3711 (second gen (washed))

Merkin Splendor: Culture of Wyeast 1275 (second gen (washed)), sludge from primary fermentation of Temptation Toad, dregs of two bottles of Orval


19lbs grain = 6.333 gallons strike water

Adjuncts and Additives
(I can't believe I did not write this down, but I think it was near 2)lbs Diva Cucumbers from Dogwood Farm added second week of primary fermentation
35 mL 88%Lactic Acid (5 ml / G)

Mash Schedule
30 min @ 122
60 min @ 152
5 min @ 168

Brewday Notes and Reflections

Mashed in at 8:35 AM.
First runnings 1.078.
Pre-boil gravity 1.035.
Final gravity 1.045.
Finished cleaning at 3:30 PM.


7.9.14 - pitched yeast both beers. Activity in Merkin Splendor very quick (maybe because I can see it (glass)). Ambient around 70 degrees (both).
7.14.14 - Merkin Gherkin has been naturally climbing in temperature -- hanging in at around 80.
7.23.14 - Gravity 1.001. Cucumber flavor is a bit more vegetal than I thought it would be. Adding lactic acid and kegging.

Merkin Splendor Notes
8.2014 - Gravity reads 1.001. Racked to secondary with 1oz Medium toast Hungarian oak chips. This is a departure from my normal procedure (though more traditional)where I add oak at the end of the souring process.

Apr 30, 2014

Floyd the Barber / Aero Zeppelin

Floyd the Barber IPA

1.051 - 1.006
50 IBU
5.9% ABV

Aero Zeppelin Saison

1.051 - 1.003 
50 IBU
6.3% ABV

The Malts:

14 lbs Marris Otter
4 lbs Flaked Wheat
1 lb 60L Crystal
1 lb 30L Crystal

The Hops:

1.5 oz Mosaic (11.6% AA) - 60 min
1 oz Mosaic - 15 min
1 oz Mosaic - 10 min
1 oz Mosaic - 5 min
1 oz Mosaic - 0 min

2 oz Mosaic (each fermenter) dry hop - 7 days


Thames Valley Slurry from New Brewery Pale Ale -- Floyd the Barber
French Saison -- Aero Zeppelin


20 lbs of grain = 6.66 gallons strike water (1gallon per 3 pounds)

Brewday notes and reflections:
mashing at 153°. It took a little while to get up to temp because I believe there is a clog somewhere under the false bottom. Things may go slowly today.

Clogging was a false alarm. 
Issue was air leaking into the connections of the HLT heat exchanger. Get in the habit of tightening this each time.
Original gravity 1.0051.


Floyd: 5.11.14 -- 1.014; beautiful mosaic aroma. Need to dry hop soon to have 7-10 days before leaving town.
5.12.14 -- Dry hopped with 2oz Mosaic
5.19.14 -- Seven days of dry hopping: Nice fruity hop aroma, but I would like a little more intensity, especially since this beer finished a little lower than I expected. I think I am going to let it sit for a couple more days. Super tasty with tons of fruity hop flavor, and a nice bitter finish. Also backed up quite well with grain.

5.12.14: 1.026 - not as low as i thought it might be. Esters, Phenols, and hop aroma are all quite nice already. This beer may not get dry-hopped, depending on schedule.
5.18.14 - Gravity 1.003
5.20.14 -- kegged

Mar 22, 2014

New Brewery Pale Ale

Drunkenness is Loyalty, Sobriety is Treason

New Brewery Pale Ale

1.050 - 1.010

42 IBU

5.25% ABV

This is the first beer brewed on my new electric HERMS system. The idea is to make something simple that may need adjustment at the end. I will not calculate hop additions until I know the gravity of the wort, but will aim for something close to 1:1 BU:GU. This is loosely based on Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale, with obvious changes (flaked wheat, etc.).

The Malts:

16# Marris Otter
2# Flaked Wheat
.5# Crystal 60L
.33# Chocolate Wheat

The Hops

Will calculate after mashing.
Goal is for around .80 BU:GU

1 oz Magnum (11.5% AA) -- 60 Minutes
1 oz East KEnt Goldings (7.2% AA) -- 30 Minutes
1 oz Eat Kent Goldings (7.2% AA) - 15 minutes
.84 BU:GU


Strike water should be 6.25 gallons (manufacturer recommends 1 gallon per 3 lbs of grain)
Sparge until there are 14 gallons in boil kettle

Notes and Reflections:

Mashing at around 158 I had the temperature set to 156 differential seems to be about 2° so I turned it down to 155

Gravity during mash out near 1.084.

Increase to mash out is quite slow probably due to the similarities in temperature between the match out and the hot liquor tank. Raised the temperature in the hot liquor tank from 170° to 175°.

Pre-boil gravity 1.040.
 Final gravity 1.050.

I need to remember drinking a lot of beer while brewing (especially the first time using a new system is a terrible idea. The secret beer game was a fun one, but i was kinda distracted at the end of the brew which made it a little less enjoyable than it normally would have been. There were plenty of distractions at the time, and I may not have dealt with them well. I had to weigh my remaining hops this morning to be sure I did not forget the 15 minute addition.

4.4.14 -- Checked gravity today (around 1.013), but the biggest note is the harsh bitter aftertaste that I hope will fade. Though fermentation is complete, I still consider this beer to be young, so perhaps. I also wonder if there is a chance I made an error in calculating IBUs.
4.14.14 -- Kegged the first bucket (gravity 1.010). The harsh bitter aftertaste has disappeared, though there is still plenty bitter in the finish. This will be good cool and carbonated.

12.21.14 -- Drank the last of this the other day. I want to improve on this recipe and give it another go. Instead of the 1275, I think I will stick with S-04 or trying something different (maybe 1968). I will lover the IBUS to closer to 35, perhaps lower if I decrease the O.G.

Feb 15, 2014

Estimated Prophet

Fire Wheel Burning in the air

Estimated Prophet
West Coast Pale Ale
1.051 - 1.006
5.8% ABV
44 IBU

I'll call down thunder and speak the same
17# American 2-row
2# 60L Crystal
2# Flaked Wheat

My word fills the sky with flame
1oz Cluster (6.8% AA) - 60 minutes
1oz Columbus (16.4% AA) 15 minutes
1oz Cascade (8.9% AA) - 10 minutes
1oz Columbus (16.4% AA) - 5 minutes
1oz Cascade (7.5% AA) - 5 minutes
1oz Columbus (16.4% AA) - 0 minutes
1oz Cascade (7.5% AA) - 0 minutes

Might and glory gonna be my name
US-05 Slurry from Keller XP

Men gonna light my way
8 gallons strike water
2.6 absorbed
at least 8.6 gallons sparge water
Total water needed - at least 16.6 gallons


Mash begins 7:45 AM
Mash temperature 154°
Had to add some boiling water at the beginning of the mash to bring it up to temperature. Closer to 9 gallons went into the mashed instead of eight.
First runnings 1.065. About 6 1/2 gallons.
Final gravity 1.051.
All done cleaning up 1:45 PM

3.8.14- racked one bucket into the cask and primed at 3.4 volumes of CO2. Flavor was very good, though strong for a cask beer. Mash temp at little lower than I wanted, and S-05 is a bit more attenuative (even more so than I thought).

Dec 28, 2013

Keller E.P.

Keller E.P.
1.050 - 1.005
 41 IBU
5.9% ABV

Malts: 16# Weyerman Pilsner + 3# Munich II + 1# Carapils

2oz Spalt (4.8% AA)- 60 min
2oz Hallertaur (4.3% AA) - 30 min
2 oz Hallertaur (4.3% AA)- 15 min
2oz Saaz (3.8% AA) - 15 min
1 oz Saaz (3.8% AA) - 0 min

9 gallons strike water
2.5 gallons absorbed
at least 7.5 gallons sparge water needed
total water: 16.5 gallons

Brewday Notes:
Fire lit at 6:36 AM
mash in at 7:20 AM
Initial mash temperature 146°F
8:53 AM first runnings 1.063. Just shy of 6 gallons.

14 pre-boil gallons at 1.041
11:10 AM final gravity 1.050. A little bit less than 12 gallons. Also I added 2 ounces of Saaz at knockout instead of one.

11:54 AM chilling done beer is in the buckets.

Completely done cleaning and all at 12:40 PM

1.26.14 - Gravity reads 1.005. Primary fermentation has been in the high fifties with the exception of a day or so in the low 60s. I have attempted a diacetyl rest of sorts, but it has been damn cold, so I do not think it even got to 65 once I removed the buckets from their fermentation chambers. I tasted it again today, and did not notice any diacetyl flavors, these are going to be ready for their cold conditioning.

Dec 11, 2013

Smokey the Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit, Sally Field Giving the Finger

Smokey the Bandit
1.040 - 1.007
28 IBU
4.3% ABV

The Malts:

10 lbs American 2-row
3 lbs Cherry Smoked Malt
1.5 lbs Chocolate Wheat Malt
1 lb Carastan
1 lb 80L Crystal Malt


1 oz Target (8.5%AA) - 60 min
1 oz East Kent Golding (5.6%AA) - 30 min


7.5 gal strike water
1 gal mash-out
at least 7.6 gal sparge water


S-04 slurry from Bullfrog Brown

1.4.14 - Both buckets are now kegged. The one today may have a slightly lower final gravity than the one I kegged a couple days ago. The lower F.G. version is in the keg that says "use last".

Nov 2, 2013

Bullfrog Brown

Bullfrog Brown
1.040 -- 1.014
19 IBU
3.4% ABV 

The Malts:

6 lbs Marris Otter
3 lbs Munich (9L)
3 lbs Toasted Malt
2 lbs Flaked Wheat
1 lb 80L Crystal
.5 lb Chocolate Malt

Hops: Hops: Hops:

1.50 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA)

Water Needed:

7 gallons strike water
1.9 gallons absorbed
+1 gallon boiling water (mash out)

at least 8 gallons sparge water needed.

Brewday Notes and Reflections:

Mashed in at 7:55 AM. Meeting to add a little more boiling water because mash temp is too low.

I managed to get it up to about 157° with about 45 minutes to go.

First runnings: 1.061.
Pre-boil gravity 1.033.
Final gravity: 1.040.

All done at 2:20 PM.

Bullfrog Brown Notes:

11.4.13 - pitched yeast (S-04)

1.20.14 -- Tasting Bullfrog Brown:

Before tasting, it should be noted that this beer fermented in the low 60s. 

Appearance: Dark copper with excellent clarity. Light tan head that is very thick and persistent.

Aroma: Caramel and bready (toasty) notes are most noticeable. There is also a very faint hop aroma that is best described as earthy. Very fait fruity esters as well - peachy. No diacetyl; no DMS.

Flavor: Very light bready and toasty flavors, but the dominant and initial flavor is grainy and a bit sharp. Finish is bitter and lingers for quite a while. Finish is also a little watery. Caramel flavors do not come through past the grainy and sharp nature of the beer. The flavor is not bad, but just not what it could be. Sharpness fades as beer warms, as the malty flavors become a bit more prominent. Very low to no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and sharp. Slightly astringent. Low carbonation and medium bodied.

Overall: Not a bad start, but this beer is missing a lot of the character I hoped would be there. The mash temperature being lower than I wanted could have been a contributing factor. I may also want to add a bit more crystal malt, and perhaps forego the chocolate malt, which I have found to have a bit of a sharp flavor in the past. Though a lot of the negative aspects fade as the beer warms, there is still improvement to be made. One might be to increase the gravity a tad. Much of this could be that there is just not enough malt to contribute to the flavor profile I am looking for. The take-away: serve this beer warmer, and make the adjustments named above, and the end results should be much better. The potential is here, just work on the execution.


Temptation Toad

Half of this batch will be fermented with a yeast and bacteria cultured from a bottle of Russian River Supplication and a bottle of Temptation from the same brewery. I built the culture up starting with about a half liter of 1.030 wort, then ramping it up to a full liter once the fermentation subsided. Then I sent the following inquiry to Russian River Brewing Company:

"Supplication and Temptation Dregs -- What do I have?

Hello. I have been building up a culture from the dregs of the two beers I mentioned above. I would like to use this to ferment one of my next batches. I know there has to be some Pedio and Brett in there, but I wonder if you know more specifically what else may be living in there. Is there any Saccromyces, or is it all Brett and bugs? EIther way, I still plan to use this culture to ferment a brown ale I will brew soon.

THank you for any insight you may be able to provide."

...and got the following response from Vinnie Cilurzo, their head brewer:

"Thanks for the email, you have a mix of Sacc, Brett, and bacteria.  The Sacc is a wine yeast we use to bottle condition with.  The Temptation would contribute some pretty fresh Brett as we use some in the bottle and the bacteria we used in the barrel also has a bunch of wild yeast but the bacteria component is probably on the light side in quantity as it was added early on.  In general though you should be able to grow it up in low gravity low or un-hopped wort along with some apple juice (unfiltered) at a ratio of 80% wort and 20% apple juice."
Good luck!
Vinnie Cilurzo
Russian River Brewing Company

For the next step, I ramped it up to about three quarts, adding unfiltered apple juice to account for about 20% of the total of the final culture volume.

Temptation Toad Notes:

11.4.13 -- pitched culture (70 degrees)
12.20.13 - 1.008 (mildly sour. very thin)
7.9.14 - 1.003 (more pronounced lingering fruity sourness -- beer is extremely dry) -- added 1oz Medium Toast French oak cubes
1.19.15 -- Bottled using 8.1oz corn sugar for 4.25 volumes CO2. I am a little concerned about my process though. I added the priming sugar and bottling yeast after racking the beer to the bottling bucket, which is not how I usually proceed. I stirred the beer gently after the addition and 1-2 more times during the course of bottling to be sure the sugar and yeast were integrated evenly. Also a couple of bottles broke in the oven, so that is also a concern. I had the heat up to 260 for 2.5 hours.